Source Characterization and Pretreatment Evaluation of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Healthcare Facility Wastewater



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Healthcare facility wastewaters are a potentially important and under characterized source of pharmaceuticals and personal care products to the environment. In this study the composition and magnitude of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) released into a single municipality?s wastewater system from a hospital, a nursing care facility, an assisted living facility and an independent living facility are presented for 54 pharmaceuticals, 8 hormones and 31 Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs). Chemical oxidation using molecular ozone and advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) (UV-hydrogen peroxide, Fenton?s Reagent, and Photo ? Fenton?s Reagent) were screened and evaluated as potential treatment technologies for removal of APEOs in water and wastewater.
In this research, APEOs were found to be dominant PPCP class out of 94 individual analytes measured, accounting for more than 65% of the total mass loading observed leaving the healthcare facility wastewater. Seventy one out of the total measured PPCPs were detected in wastewater from at least one of the facilities. Healthcare facility wastewater are the source of PPCPs to the environment; however, their contribution to the total magnitude of PPCPs in municipal wastewater and the surrounding environment will be determined by the relative flow contribution of wastewater released from the facility to the municipal sewer network. Molecular ozone and advanced oxidation processes were observed to remove APEOs from analyzed water matrices; however, understanding the product formation during the oxidation process is important before concluding a suitable treatment process. Molecular ozone reacted selectively with the double bond in the APEO while AOPs reaction was non selective oxidation. During the AOPs, OH? formation rate and scavenging rate constant of wastewater was found to be the factors governing the oxidation process. Thus, the research carried out informs a risk management decisions concerning the prevalence of PPCPs in the wastewater and use of oxidation systems as a treatment technologies for removal of PPCPs.